WNY Maritime/Health Sciences Falcons (8-1) vs Albion Purple Eagles (8-1)
Friday November 8, 2019
New Era Field | Orchard Park, NY
Kick-Off 5:00 P.M.
TV: None | Radio: www.mixlr.com/wnyathletics
The Albion Purple Eagles cleaned house in the Class B-3 Division this past season racking up 134 points in four games versus division opponents. Other than a 26-point outburst by Olean in week five, Albion held division opponents to just 19 points. The only blemish on the Albion schedule was a 42-30 loss at Amherst (Class A) in week 6.
Maritime on the other hand buried almost every opponent that stood in their way, including Pioneer last weekend (42-7), in what many expected to be a much closer game; it wasn’t. The Falcons have just one loss on their schedule, a 40-0 defeat at the hands of Monsignor Martin powerhouse Canisius.
Both teams are led by sound rushing attacks and great defenses. It’s hard to move the chains on either of them.
Offensively, running the ball is a big part of the plan for the Falcons; there is no shortage in the tailback department. Maurice Vaughn, Mekhi Bridgers, Addison Copeland and John Washington probably could have all rushed for over 1,000 yards this season had they not spread the ball around so well. There isn’t one player demanding the ball either. They push each other for the good of the team and that is what helped lead them to New Era Field for the Class B championship.
WNY Maritime/ Health Sciences are a second year program on their second head coach and no home field. New Era might as well be their home field. Ty Parker took over the head coaching position this past summer and has done a great job of keeping the players focused on winning and buying into their philosophy of playing as one team regardless of the combined school make-up. “We are the Falcons,” coach Parker said. “From the beginning we recognized that we had to forget that we were two combined schools if we were going to have any kind of success on the field. And these kids bought in to that. We are all Falcons when we take the field, that is the mindset we have to continue playing with.”
Bridgers is second on the team in rushing yards (655) and leads the Falcons in tackets (105). There are a number of guys on the roster that can break off a huge play at any given moment. Once defenses think they have a player wrapped up for a loss, one of these backs makes a move and they are gone. I saw this first hand against Burgard, just how explosive they can be.
Copeland especially, he has been a great all-around player and on special teams where he has returned a number of kicks to the house including a 70-yarder last Friday.
WNYMHS took their lumps last year in Class A but were known as a very physical team with a lot of athletic players. They have been able to put it all together, along with a formula for winning games that could carry them deep into the NYSPHSAA playoffs.
In their way of course is Albion who has been working for this moment for years. Brilliance Johnson is an exceptional talent who can do a lot of different things for head coach Adam Krenning. Their quarterback Thomas Furmanski is a well-rounded athlete that has produced in big moments during his high school career, he is also the team’s kicker. Furmanski’s favorite target has been Kevin Hillman who led Albion with five touchdown receptions. Tyray White racked up 624 yards and had six touchdowns. Defensively he has four sacks.
Albion is going to have to find a way to slow down the Falcons offense as they are probably just as fast, if not quicker, than Amherst.
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